As an ANFT Certified Guide, I am honored to continue in my historic focus and path of providing avenues to support health and wellness through nature based connections. I am grateful to have served for over a decade with the USDA Forest Service (USFS) as a Conservation Education Specialist in Texas and a Partnerships, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist in the USFS Headquarters in Washington DC. I was the first USFS employee to receive financial support from the USFS to attend the ANFT Guide Training and Certification Program. During my time with the USFS, I initiated nontraditional partnerships with organizations such as park Rx America and Corazon Latino, to invoke opportunities for diversity engagement in the outdoors with a deeper connection to mental, physical and emotional health. As a USFS representative, I was instrumental in propelling the Forest Therapy practice withing the agency, among Forest Service leadership and employees throughout the nation, as a credible means by which to connect people to the land, providing human health benefits, while inspiring conservation leadership. Through my position with the USFS, I supported in the establishment of a USFS funding mechanism, in collaboration with ANFT and Corazon Latino, to support the first ever ANFT bilingual training conducted in Puerto Rico, which served 22 bilingual participants from the continental US, Mexico and Nicaragua, who were dedicated to return to their respective communities to deliver forest therapy to those who might not otherwise have opportunities to participate in this important practice.
In addition, using my bilingual skills, my passion is to deliver guided Forest Therapy walks within bilingual communities, while inspiring conservation leadership and reciprocity practices within Latino communities, who will continued to expand this practice among diverse communities.
My role in bringing this practice to various audiences such as Veterans, individuals experiencing trauma , depression or mental or emotional health issues, individuals with different abilities, people and families facing chronic disease issues and solutions, youth engagement to action, and other special user groups, has become a personal passion and one that I seek to develop avenues of insight and knowledge around ways that Forest Therapy can serve these particular groups of focus.
An additional area of focus in which I am engaged is providing forest therapy sessions and extended workshops to corporate entities in support of employee and leadership health and wellness, team-building, increased creativity, and overall productivity, while inspiring connections with self, one another and the land. This avenue of corporate engagement in Forest Therapy is also aligned with the ideation, design and development of a corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility focus through community engagement and corporate envisioning through collaboration.